How do you envision your land?
Some landowners would like future generations to experience nature on their land. A public conservation agency might be able to make that happen. Other landowners prefer their land be available mostly to wildlife, not people. A private, nonprofit conservation organization might be able to make that happen.
There are many potential conservation partners for your land’s protection, and the first way to sort among them is to determine if it’s important to you whether your land becomes public or not.
Many people think first of the county conservation board (Iowa has one in each county) or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as a potential owner of land to be shared with the public. These agencies may offer guided hikes, educational opportunities with professional naturalists on the land, mentored or youth hunting, as well as varied individual recreation opportunities on lands they own and manage.
Iowa’s private land trusts sometimes provide public access or occasional public events at land they own and manage, and are also in an easier position to hold land that is not open to the public.
Techniques that fit public vs. private partners
Donation options are easiest for both public and private entities to consider and accept, compared to sale options. Both public and private entities may offer donor recognition, including a specially chosen name for the eventual public area.
Sale options might work with private conservation organizations, but are most often associated with public agencies. Competitive public grants for land protection are generally limited to lands that will be open to the public.
Conservation easements can be donated to public or private entities. Some county conservation boards have active easement programs, but many have not yet had the opportunity to accept a conservation easement. INHF and other land trusts are eligible to hold easements, and many do. INHF can help you explore potential conservation easement partners based on the location of your land.